To save this tal
Ballia nallah and ravines
Lake: Just after rains
"First, in the court, when the case is being
heard and then, with the executive for the implementation of the court orders. It is an
ongoing battle. The litigant and the local people have to act as a watch dog," shares
Ajay Rawat, an academician, who filed a public interest litigation for the protection of
Nainital Lake in 1993. The Supreme Court gave its final verdict in 1995. Since then, the
litigant with public support is on the guard. These efforts are paying rich dividends.
|Lucknow gets cracking
The Lucknow Nagar Nigam (LNN) has recently launched a project to protect eight ponds in
the city from decay. This step is taken up to counter the problems identified in a
National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI)'s study. It revealed,"Large quantities
of garbage dumps and waste water from residential colonies and small scale industries are
contaminating these ponds." The NBRI has proposed root zone treatment. It can
effectively treat domestic and industrial effluents besides being eco-friendly and
Clean lakes with
The Bhoj wetland project, Madhya Pradesh, has developed a plan of installing nine
fountains in the Upper Lake and six in the Lower Lake to keep the water clean. While
explaining the process, the project coordinator Prashant Khirwadkar, said, "The water
running deep has insufficient amount of oxygen as compared to the one on the surface.
Through these fountains the water would come up and then go down after getting
Since 1984, Rawat has been actively sensitising
the concerned authorities about lake pollution and the need to maintain Ballia nallah
(drain) to supply water to Nainital and adjoining townships. The overflow of the Nainital
Lake during the monsoon passes, through the nallah and disgorges in Ballia ravine. The
nallah was in shambles and if it had caved in the lake water would have swept off several
townships in the foothills. However, these concerns never received attention either from
the authorities or of the people living in the plains. Though such mishaps are not
uncommon in the region. The SC order on March 9, 1995 effectively addressed the concerns
raised. It directed:
- To maintain Ballia ravine,
- In the town area of Nainital, the construction of
multi-storied group housing societies has been banned, and,
- Prevent sewage and other pollutants from entering
The orders has been executed. The proposals of
149 group housing societies were cancelled by the administration. The height and the area
of individuals houses constructed has been fixed. The lake is being cleaned annually.
Occasional intervention from the High Court has also spurred up the administration.
Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has accepted a Rs 98.6 crores plan
to revive the lake and its catchment.
The state government has also released Rs 7
crores for the maintenance of Ballia ravine. The works will be completed by 2003,
subsequently afforestation programme will be launched and vegetative spurs will be
developed. During the monsoons, every year, residents of the surrounding areas were asked
to move to safer places, but not this year. (Dr A Rawat, Tel: 423626)
From the courtroom
On Nov 15, a public interest litigation filed for the protection of city's
waterbodies by a New Delhi-based NGO Tapas, was heard by Delhi High Court. The court
directed the Union Ministry of Tourism to develop six specified waterbodies as tourist
spots by March 31, 2003. Disappointed by the rapid decay of Hauz-i-Shamsi, the court said,
"Since 2000, we have been hearing this case and only files are getting thicker. The
concerned authorities should now start taking action, seriously."Only three months
back, pictures showing its revival were presented before the court.
liquified waste from both domestic and industrial sources is a major polluter effecting
Lake Baikal. The soil erosion in the lake region has also doubled in the last 50 years.The
task of maintaining the world's largest, deepest and oldest lake, Baikal in Russia, is not
easy. Baikal holds about 20 per cent of earth's fresh water. It is fed by 336 rivers with
a drainage basin covering more than one million cubic kilo meter of Siberia and Mongolia.
The conservation efforts are going on at state, society and international
levels. After Russian government's reversal of decades of anti-environmental industrial
policies, the entire area was notified as a national park in 1992. Every year, a large
chunk of the federal budget goes for its maintenance. Organisations like Green peace and
Earth Island Institute, USA, encourage volunteers from different parts of the world to
work for the protection of the lake and its surroundings.